A Neuroscientific Approach to Addiction: Ethical Concerns

Martina Reske and Martin P. Paulus

in Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199570706
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

A Neuroscientific Approach to Addiction: Ethical Concerns

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology



Neuropsychology and neuroimaging provide valuable insights into the neurophysiological basis of drug addiction. This knowledge needs to be integrated into current models on drug use to achieve neuroscientists' and clinicians' goals to improve both early detection and the therapeutic process by developing more effective intervention tools. Identifying neuropsychological and new biological markers of susceptibility to drug addiction or drug relapse raise important ethical concerns. This article outlines the current status of drug addiction research as it relates to the susceptibility to drug addiction. The specific emphasis is put on the neuropsychological and neurofunctional characteristics of drug use and their relation to personality and other modulating variables. Recent imaging findings on relevant neuropsychological constructs such as decision-making and inhibition are discussed in light of their implications for the understanding of the underlying processing dysfunction. The article proposes that the degree of dysfunction in substance users can be more comprehensively assessed using neuroimaging.

Keywords: neuropsychology; neuroimaging; drug addiction; ethical concerns; dysfunction

Article.  12941 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Clinical Psychology

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